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Meeting, convention, and event planners coordinate all aspects of professional meetings and events. They choose meeting locations, arrange transportation, and coordinate other details.
Meeting, convention, and event planners typically do the following:
- Meet with clients to understand the purpose of the meeting or event
- Plan the scope of the event, including time, location, program, and cost
- Solicit bids from places and service providers (for example, florists or photographers)
- Work with the client to choose where to hold the event and whom to contract with for services
- Inspect places to ensure they meet the client's requirements
- Coordinate event services such as rooms, transportation, and food service
- Confer with on-site staff to coordinate details
- Monitor event activities to ensure the client and event attendees are satisfied
- Review event bills and approve payment
Whether it is a wedding, educational conference, or business convention, meetings and events bring people together for a common purpose. Meeting, convention, and event planners work to ensure that this purpose is achieved seamlessly.
They coordinate every detail of events, from beginning to end. Before a meeting, for example, planners will meet with clients to estimate attendance and determine the meeting’s purpose. During the meeting, they handle meeting logistics such as registering guests and setting up audio/visual equipment for speakers. After the meeting, they survey attendees to find out what topics interested them the most.
Meeting, convention, and event planners also search for potential meeting sites, such as hotels and convention centers. They consider the lodging and services that the facility can provide, how easy it will be for people to get there, and the attractions that the surrounding area has to offer. More recently, planners also consider whether an online meeting can achieve the same objectives as a face-to-face meeting.
Once a location is selected, planners arrange meeting space and support services. For example, they negotiate contracts with suppliers to provide meals for attendees and coordinate plans with on-site staff. They organize speakers, entertainment, and activities. They also oversee the finances of meetings and conventions. On the day of the event, planners may register attendees, coordinate transportation, and make sure meeting rooms are set up properly.
The following are types of meeting, convention, and event planners:
- Association planners organize annual conferences and trade shows for professional associations. Because member attendance is often voluntary, marketing the meeting’s value is an important aspect of their work.
- Corporate planners organize business meetings, usually under tight deadlines.
- Government meeting planners organize meetings for government officials and agencies. Being familiar with government regulations, such as procedures for buying materials and booking hotels, is vital to their work.
- Convention service managers help organize major events as employees of hotels and convention centers. They act as liaisons between the meeting facility and the planners who work for associations, businesses, or governments. They present food service options to outside planners, coordinate special requests, and suggest hotel services, depending on the planner’s budget.
- Event planners arrange the details of a variety of events, including weddings and large parties.